Pittsburgh Technical Council

Get to Know Your 2018 Co-CREATORS: Matthew Conboy and Kelly Sanders

Get to Know Your 2018 Co-CREATORS: Matthew Conboy and Kelly Sanders

Article Published: December 6, 2017

Cocreatorsinterview

Matthew Conboy

During this year’s Co-CREATE, Matthew Conboy will focus on his project, Start with Art, which encourages a love of art from day one. The intent of the program is to provide every newborn in three Pittsburgh hospitals with a unique piece of art to hopefully start a lifelong collection. There will be a new artist each month. This year’s lineup of artists include a Pulitzer Prize Winner, museum director, and opera singer.

Matthewconboy

We asked Matthew a few questions to get to know him and his unique project better.

Questions for M:

Q: Describe yourself in one sentence.

A: Always on the move whether it’s in Pittsburgh or halfway around the world.

 

Q: Why did you become an entrepreneur?

A: Since founding Start with Art in 2014 (a program that gifts original, signed, and numbered photographic prints from local artists to every baby born at three local hospitals), I realized I would have to start thinking about strategies to secure more earned income. A higher percentage of earned income in our budget would ensure that we would not have to rely as much on our fantastic local foundations for funding.

 

Q: What’s been the most unexpected challenge you have had to face since becoming an entrepreneur?

A: How to translate my passion for Start with Art to a wider audience. Thinking about Pittsburgh’s babies and young families is what gets me out of bed in the morning and I want more people in Pittsburgh to feel just as passionate about arts and culture as I am. While I love the fact that we’re a City of Champions, wouldn’t it be great to be considered the City of Culture too?

 

Q: What’s your favorite creative space in Pittsburgh?

A: Whenever I feel like I’ve painted myself into a corner or just need to clear my mind, I walk across the street to the Mattress Factory Art Museum and spend some time in James Turrell’s Danaë. It was the very first work of art that I saw when I visited the Mattress Factory in 2001 and it remains my favorite piece at the museum.

 

Q: Who is your favorite local artist?

A: This is a really tough one! I might have to cheat a little and choose Anqwenique Wingfield as my favorite vocalist and Rose Clancy as my favorite visual artist. Anqwneique is a classically trained jazz and opera singer as well as the studio manager at BOOM Concepts gallery on Penn Avenue.

The first time I heard her sing, I had tears in my eyes. Her voice just connects with me in such a visceral way. And Rose creates sculptural and installation work that is so personal and biographical but is really accessible to everyone. Her use of cloth and oxidizing metals really encapsulate Pittsburgh.

 

Q: What is a business that has inspired you?

A: Jennifer Schwartz and Crusade for Art. She spent a summer driving around the country in an old VW bus setting up pop-up galleries where she gave away the work of local photographers as a way to increase audiences for art and photography. She was tireless in her effort to help artists and expose these new audiences to art. Jennifer and Crusade for Art is what inspired and convinced me to create Start with Art.

 

Q: How can people see or get involved in your work?

A: If you’d like to learn more about Start with Art, please visit www.startwithartpgh.org. We’re also on Instagram at @startwithartpgh and facebook at facebook.com/startwithartpgh.

I’ve also got my own artwork up at www.matthewconboy.com and on instagram at @mlconboyphoto.

 

Q: What do you want to achieve by the end of this Co-CREATE experience?

A: Besides forming a stronger partnership and network with my fellow Co-CREATORS, I really want to feel more comfortable with the legal, accounting, and marketing aspects when I’m carrying out my business plan for Start with Art. We’re not even two months into Co-CREATE and I’ve already learned so much!

Kelly Sanders

Kelly Sanders has a knack for fashion. After spending two decades in New York City and San Francisco, working with big companies like Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle, she started using her upcycled fabric collection to create something unique!

toomanysparkles is a collection of notebooks, cards, and art made with fun fabric swatches. This past year, Kelly opened a gift shop, love, Pittsburgh, with her business partner and Co-CREATE alumni, Monica Yope. You can find toomanysparkles there, on Etsy, and at local events like Handmade Arcade and the Neighborhood Flea.

Kellysanders

Excited to learn more? Check out our interview with Kelly:

Questions for K:

Q: Describe yourself in one sentence.

A: Pittsburgh loving creative, inspired by pop culture.

 

Q: Why did you become an entrepreneur?

A: After 20 years in corporate fashion design, I was excited to take what I learned and apply it to growing small businesses.

 

Q: What’s been the most unexpected challenge you have had to face since becoming an entrepreneur?

A: I am used to my corporate career, where everyone had a specific responsibility, and we all supported each other across our functions. Now I need to wear every hat, and bookkeeping is not my strength.

 

Q: What’s your favorite creative space in Pittsburgh?

A: Pittsburgh Center For Creative Reuse. It is my church, and I try to volunteer there monthly.

 

Q: Who is your favorite local artist?

A: Andy Warhol

 

Q: What is a business that has inspired you?

A: 45 RPM [Japanese company]

 

Q: How can people see or get involved in your work?

A: Currently, a small selection of my handmade toomanysparkles notebooks are available at my new gift shop, love, Pittsburgh.

I was at Handmade Arcade December 2, and will also be popping up at the PennStyled pop up on December 9 and 16.

 

Q: What do you want to achieve by the end of this Co-CREATE experience?

A: First, turn toomanysparkles into an LLC, and get the business side of things squared away. Then, create a line of printed cover notebooks inspired by my handmade fabric notebooks, and sell them wholesale around the world!

 

Now you know two more of our artists and entrepreneurs a little better! Matthew and Kelly will work to achieve their creative goals in the next few months, and we'll keep you posted on their progress, as well as the progress of our other Co-CREATORS.

For more information and news, check out our website. Don’t forget to stay creative!

 

 

 

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